My dad is turning 74 over the weekend so he gets a birthday post today. These kind of just bubble up on the morning of the post, so today I’m thinking about what he’s facing and how brave he is.

He’s been on his own for 2.5 years now, after two-thirds of a life spent with my mom. At times, I’m pretty sure he’s getting by on sheer stubbornness because giving up wouldn’t be “the cowboy way,” but he’s so brave. Every day must be hard; every day he just…does what needs to be done.

He’s facing a potential eye surgery right now and has been going to appointments and trying to make the decision without having that partner to talk things through with. It sounds unthinkably hard to try to do that alone.

So I guess I want to use this quasi-public forum to remind my dad that he’s not alone, that he has a support group–one he made, literally. Family can’t replace the partnership of a spouse, but we can help you with the things that take two people. We can’t cure your loneliness, but we’re here for you and we love you.